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Shrink on the Mat – September 2011 Question

September 1, 2011

Q: I really don’t like it when my teacher tells us to work with visualizations in a class as I find it nearly impossible to do this. Should I just ignore this the next time I am in class and continue with my postures or do you have any tips on how to improve this, if it is at all possible? Could it be possible that some people are just not capable of visualizing?

Visualisations are not easy for everyone so you are not alone in that. Like any of the sensory experiences however, I do believe that in time one can become more comfortable with visualization. You could start by noticing if your doubts or thoughts about visualization are getting in the way; for example if you are you are in savasana and noticing that you have angry or frustrated thoughts about the visualisation, see if you can notice those thoughts and come back to just feeling the breath or sensations in the body. Visualisation does not just entail seeing things in the minds eye. Its also about feeling, hearing, smelling and tasting. When yogis envision something, all senses can be involved. Visualisation is a way of experiencing things with the inner senses. Notice if you are able to use any of your other senses when your teacher guides you into visualization. Can you hear, smell, taste, are there inner sensations, emotions? Your natural method of sensing might happen more strongly through one of these other senses and in time you might discover that you can indeed visualize with the inner eye as well. Practice really does help, so see if you can move past the idea that you can’t do this, and see what you can notice, even if it is a glimpse of something, or one of your other senses speak to you first.  If you can close your eyes and picture someone that you love, practice that on a daily basis and you will discover that you have probably had visual images all the way along, and that over time you can enhance your capacity to see from within….

Linda Kantor is a psychotherapist, yoga teacher and practitioner who has been in private practice for the past 15 years.
Have a question about yoga? Email Linda directly or
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